The Holden Team's Blog
It’s easy to fall in love with a house if it has all the features you’re looking for. However, it’s important not to ignore the qualities of the neighborhood the house is in as well.
The state of the surrounding neighborhood is important for many homeowners. You’ll use the local amenities, walk on the sidewalks, drive on the roads, and eventually even set the price of your home based partially on the price of those surrounding it.
In this article, we’re going to discuss some of the reasons you should pay attention to the neighborhood when shopping for homes, and what qualities to look for to find a place that has both high quality of life and resale value.
Neighborhood Inspection 101
There are a number of things you’ll want to learn about a neighborhood before you move in. Some of them you can observe with your own eye, some you can find online via public records, and others will require talking to the locals to see what their experience has been.
Things to observe
When you go to visit a home, set aside some time beforehand to drive around the neighborhood. Check out the roads, sidewalks, and the general state of the neighborhood. Boarded up houses and closed businesses aren’t always a sign of doom and gloom, but it can give you insight into the pricing of some homes and give you some negotiating power.
If you love the house and feel okay about the neighborhood swing by during rush hour, if possible. This will give you a sense of traffic and how long it will take you to get to work from your new home.
If you’re moving into a city, it’s also a good idea to check out the after-hours scene. If a peaceful evening at home is what you seek, it will be a good idea to know ahead of time if your street comes alive at night.
Things to research
It’s a good idea to get a feel for the local culture before buying a home to see if it fits with your lifestyle. Are businesses closed on Sundays? Are there community events and clubs that you ur your family would be interested in? You can find most information online through Facebook groups, library websites, and local newspapers.
If you’re concerned with crime, you can find local data online. Similarly, records are available for local schools, such as where the town’s test scores land compared to state and national averages.
Talk to the neighbors
The most practical way to learn about a neighborhood is to ask the people who live there. They’ll be able to tell you how it has changed over the years, which will give you a sense of where the neighborhood is headed. They can tell you whether it’s a neighborhood filled with young families or aging retirees, and will likely be able to let you know if there are any problems in the neighborhood.
Aside from the local culture, you should ask your potential new neighbors about the infrastructure. Do they have frequent power issues? Is there often noisy construction, or have there been potholes that haven’t been filled for years? You can learn a lot from the people who have lived in a neighborhood for multiple years.
More space,the chance to express yourself artistically without thinking twice about a landlord's rules and the opportunity to build equity are three major reasons to buy a house. By owning your own house, you can also start to create memories that you and your immediate and extended family members will treasure.
Pursuing your dream house makes sense
In fact, when many people look back over their lives, they think about one or more houses that they frequented as a child. It could be a grandparents' or an aunts' or parents' house. Many people associate these places as safe havens, especially if it's at these homes where they felt fully accepted, protected, loved and safe.
Over time, a house can start to actually feel like it's a part of your family. It's this that makes it easy to understand why you want the first house that you buy to be your dream house. However, similar to how you may have had to grow into the right relationship, you may have to grow into your dream house.
For this reason, your first home may not be your dream house. Yet, don't abandon your search for your dream house. Do just the opposite. Write down the features, amenities and floor plan that you want in your dream house. Get clear about the type of neighborhood your dream home is located in. Imagine the types of neighbors that you'll have.
Head toward your dream house
See your life filled with color, excitement, fun, love and care. Envision yourself living in a house that meets all of your entertainment, space, family and work needs. For example, if you're a baker, you might see yourself living inside a house that has an attached restaurant sized kitchen next to it.
Just don't put off buying your own house until you find the home that matches your dream. For example, you may have to buy a small starter home, a place with one to two bedrooms, the type of home that's the size of a two bedroom apartment.
Reasons why you may have to start out small include:
- Opportunities or need to repair your credit
- High mortgage interest rates (It could make years of sense to wait for interest rates to drop before you buy your dream house.)
- Lack of home repair and home care knowledge (You could save thousands if you wait until you learn how to repair pipes, roofing and floor tiles yourself instead of making your first home your dream house and paying a contractor every time something needs to be fixed at your property.)
- Low to no disposable income (Just because you can pay your mortgage doesn't meant that you are financially strong. It could make sense to build your disposable income before you buy your dream house. This can protect you should an unexpected event like a job layoff occur.)
When you buy your dream house at a time when you can truly afford to pay for the property,you can free yourself up to create remarkable experiences in the house instead of spending nights worrying about whether or not you'll be able to pay the mortgage. Growing into your dream house also gives you time to adjust to owning a house, particularly a house that's as large or as small as you really want it to be.
Home automation is a budding industry. From tiny buttons to order more laundry detergent, all the way up to fully-integrated home security systems that you can run from your smartphone at work, home automation has never been more comprehensive.
Deciding which, if any, home automation systems are right for you can be difficult. As new technologies are constantly being manufactured, you’ll want to buy a product that will last. It isn’t uncommon for a product in a new industry to become obsolete just a year after purchase.
In this article, we’ll help you understand the latest home automation tech and give you some advice on which ones are likely to remain useful in the coming years.
The Amazon Dash
Amazon Dash buttons are a simple but genius idea. It’s a button that you can fix to your washing machine, or the inside of your pantry cabinet. The buttons are available for a number of common household items that you won’t want to run out. Things like trash bags, dish soap, laundry detergent, coffee, bottled water, and more.
The Dash connects to your wifi and the battery can last up to 1,000 presses so you won’t have to worry about recharging. The other benefit is that you can customize which product the button orders. So if your cat only likes a specific flavor of Meow Mix, they’ve got you covered.
One downfall of the Dash button is that its function can easily be replaced by a home assistant like the Amazon Echo or the Google Home. However, if you don’t care for all of the added features of a home assistant, the Dash buttons might be a good option for you.
The latest devices in home automation are assistants like the Amazon Echo and Google Home. Since these products are new and undergoing rapid innovations, it’s likely that we’ll see several models from different manufacturers in coming years. It’s rumored that Apple is also entering the fray with their own home assistant device.
Home assistants generally come in the shape of a small speaker that you can place in your living room. They are voice activated and will begin listening if you say the magic words (“OK Google” or “Alexa” in the case of the Alexa-powered Amazon Echo).
These products can set alarms, control lights, order products, search the internet, give you directions, play music, read the news, and more.
Smart home security
Security systems have come a long way in the last few years. When you once had to approach your security keypad to set alarms, you can now do it right from your smartphone.
Also new to these devices is the full integrated of other electronic systems in your home. You can control the thermostat, lights, door locks, and more right from an app on your phone.
There are several designs on the market which has made them less expensive and more accessible to the average consumer. That also means there are several online reviews comparing the different systems which make it easier to do your research to find the best system for you.
If you don’t want a full system, there are other smart security products that you can buy à la carte. These include smart locks that you can unlock with your phone, or by using a security PIN.